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Thread: The COVID-19 Discussion Thread (OTB)

  1. #1801
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    Tomorrow, California is lifting nearly all restrictions. Stores will be able to go back to 100% capacity, restaurants can do what they want, and so on. People who have had their vaccine won’t be required to wear a mask, but nobody will be checking, so it will be an honor system. There still will be some cases where people will be expected to wear masks routinely, like doctor’s offices, but the restrictions are mostly over. They are still pushing to get more vaccinated with no cost lotteries for prizes like stays at high end hotels with a nice vacation plan to provide incentive.

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  2. #1802
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Also, Safeway will now pack your reusable shopping bag.
    Our local grocery stores are still not doing so. The pandemic might have lead to a temporary drop in CO2 emissions, but I suspect it has lead to a big rise in plastic waste.
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  3. #1803
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    I've definitely seen a lot fewer masked people. When the kid with them is masked, I always assume the parents are vaccinated. When there's no kid, I'm not sure, and I don't want to be around them.
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  4. #1804
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    I have no idea what is going on with masks. If you are vaccinated, there is no mask mandate. However, it seems every place is allowed to have it's own policy. At the post office and doctor's office, I need a mask. At the grocery store or rock concert* with more 5000 people, no mask. It's like 2020 is running in reverse.

    It's going to take a while to figure out which thing is preferable. I carry a mask and guess when I arrive. Lot of times, I see a sign that says no mask required and everyone is masked anyway. I'm literally crowd-source my choice. Lots of masks, I wear a mask. No masks, I don't wear a mask. Then there is the special case where I have put a mask on by habit and then I don't take it off no matter what other people are doing.

    *Not that I've been to a rock concert in the past year or so. That is my September goal.
    Solfe

  5. #1805
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    Just when the vaccination rollout in Australia was starting to gather steam, with around 25% of the population having received at least their first shot, there has been another setback. As I discussed a few weeks ago the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been restricted to those over 50 in Australia. Unfortunately, there has been another recent death from blood clotting caused by the vaccine. This time it was a 52 year old woman and unlike the first victim she had no co-morbidities. There was already some 'vaccine hesitancy' following the first death but while there had been some other reports of clotting problems they had been successfully treated until now.

    This second death was causing more hesitancy and some medical groups were recommending that the age limit be increased. There have only being two reported deaths from around 3.7 million doses given. However in the current situation here, if you are under 60, you are currently more likely to die from the vaccination than from Covid-19. Today the "Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation" has recommended not to use this vaccine on the under 60's. This has been accepted by the government. All under 60's will now be offered the Pfizer vaccine. There will probably be a quick spike in the number of 50 - 60 years old being vaccinated but supplies of Pfizer are limited. The problem is that, like in many countries, the manufacturer has not come near to meeting the contracted dates and quantities. Other vaccines, plus more Pfizer, are scheduled to arrive later this year but it seems as though there certainly will be another slowdown.

    Those who have already had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be given a second dose of it as there have been, to date, no reports in Australia of anyone having a 'clotting' incident after a second dose.

  6. #1806
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    …
    *Not that I've been to a rock concert in the past year or so. That is my September goal.
    We’ve purchased tickets for what I guess would be considered a boomer-aged pop/folk concert in late August. I figure that by then we should know if the pandemic is really tamped down in this area. Also, it is at an outdoor venue.
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  7. #1807
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    I still wear a mask because I want the kids to keep wearing theirs. And because, frankly, I assume that people who don't want to wear masks will also not want to get vaccinated and will lie.
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  8. #1808
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I have no idea what is going on with masks. If you are vaccinated, there is no mask mandate. However, it seems every place is allowed to have it's own policy. At the post office and doctor's office, I need a mask. At the grocery store or rock concert* with more 5000 people, no mask. It's like 2020 is running in reverse.

    It's going to take a while to figure out which thing is preferable. I carry a mask and guess when I arrive. Lot of times, I see a sign that says no mask required and everyone is masked anyway. I'm literally crowd-source my choice. Lots of masks, I wear a mask. No masks, I don't wear a mask. Then there is the special case where I have put a mask on by habit and then I don't take it off no matter what other people are doing.

    *Not that I've been to a rock concert in the past year or so. That is my September goal.
    As with many things, private businesses can set what policies they wish on masks. Pretty much all the stores around here post their policies on the door. My informal impression is most have gone to a "mask optional" policy for customers but still most of their employees wear masks. Medical facilities seem to still be requiring them almost universally (makes sense to me).

    I just bring one with me always and if I'm unsure as to the policy, or how safe I feel, I err on the side of caution and wear it. How big a deal is it to wear one for the few minutes you are in a store? I make my personal assessment as to safety based on how crowded the space is, how well ventilated I feel it is, and how much I think the clientele of this establishment will have gotten vaccinated.

    At the company I work for, masks are now optional for people who are fully vaccinated (you have to show HR proof of your vaccination) and if you are not working in close-quarters. I mostly go unmasked at work.
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  9. #1809
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    The loudspeakers at the 99’ Store keep saying masks are required while in the store, but I see people without them and nothing is being done about it.

  10. #1810
    The Atlantic bubble was suppose to open up tomorrow mourning with the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia finally being opened up but that just changed. Now if you entering from New Brunswick into NS you have to quarantine for 7 days if you have only one shot and get to negative negative tests, if have both shots you have to quarantine until you get a negative test and if you have no shots you have to quarantine for 14 days. This is because New Brunswick opened up to people that have one shot in all of Canada before NS did.
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  11. #1811
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    So the UK government will now send you a bunch of lateral flow tests, on request, free of charge. So that's good, isn't it? I now do a LFT before I meet up with people, particular since (once again) I'm currently living in a national Hot Zone.
    But I'm beginning to get the feeling I'm about the only person actually doing this. I had a hospital appointment today, so did my LFT and logged the result with the NHS before setting off to the hospital. On arrival, I got the usual series of questions about fever, new cough, recent contacts, etc. And then I volunteered my recent negative LFT and showed the result on my phone.
    The technician recoiled in alarm. "Why did you have to do the test?" she asked, looking worried.
    "No reason. Just because I was coming here, to see you, I thought it was a good idea."
    "But why?"

    Clearly this whole concept of "Do a test before meeting someone for close contact indoors" was entirely new to her, despite her daily contact with twenty or thirty strangers. Presumably I'm the first patient she's met who has taken such an obvious precaution. Sigh. No wonder I live in a Hot Zone.

    Grant Hutchison

  12. #1812
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    So the UK government will now send you a bunch of lateral flow tests, on request, free of charge. So that's good, isn't it? I now do a LFT before I meet up with people, particular since (once again) I'm currently living in a national Hot Zone.
    But I'm beginning to get the feeling I'm about the only person actually doing this. I had a hospital appointment today, so did my LFT and logged the result with the NHS before setting off to the hospital. On arrival, I got the usual series of questions about fever, new cough, recent contacts, etc. And then I volunteered my recent negative LFT and showed the result on my phone.
    The technician recoiled in alarm. "Why did you have to do the test?" she asked, looking worried.
    "No reason. Just because I was coming here, to see you, I thought it was a good idea."
    "But why?"

    Clearly this whole concept of "Do a test before meeting someone for close contact indoors" was entirely new to her, despite her daily contact with twenty or thirty strangers. Presumably I'm the first patient she's met who has taken such an obvious precaution. Sigh. No wonder I live in a Hot Zone.

    Grant Hutchison
    Well we visited UK so that my wife could get a second jab and the certificate. To do that required many tests, all negative, including at a hauliers site on the way back to France. We are goods carriers. There the lateral flow was negative and we asked the military watchkeepers, they had no positives all day and all yesterday. That should be good. I don’t know the numbers but thousands of trucks go through there in transit. As with many life experiences and thinking of the wizard of Oz, it is the certificate that counts. The piece of paper with a red rubber stamp.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  13. #1813
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    I'm going to have to look up "Lateral Flow Test"!
    Meanwhile, I've been tracking Worldometer's USA Covid results in a spreadsheet* since 15 March 2020. I'm tentatively planning to discontinue that at the end of June. Numbers are down and multiple states are no longer reporting on any sort of consistent basis.

    *When the only tool you have is Excel, every problem looks like a spreadsheet.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  14. #1814
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I'm going to have to look up "Lateral Flow Test"!
    The standard kit for rapid SAR-CoV-2 antigen tests at home. You've got them in the USA, too.

    Grant Hutchison

  15. #1815
    Right now there is blockade on the New Brunswick stopping traffic both ways until the border is open.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
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  16. #1816
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The standard kit for rapid SAR-CoV-2 antigen tests at home. You've got them in the USA, too.

    Grant Hutchison
    So I see. They look very much like pregnancy tests!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  17. #1817
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    The public, mainly driven by the news organisations, push-back against the AstraZeneca vaccine has become so strong that it will pretty much be withdrawn from use by October when larger amounts of mRNA vaccine will become available. There have been numerous letters to the paper from the over 60's complaining about being forced to use a "lesser vaccine". Some of these are saying that the writer will not accept the 'second dose'. The government is now being criticised for ordering it but when that decision was made the, very rare, clotting problems had not come to light. It was cheaper, effective, and required much less stringent storage requirements plus it was able to be manufactured in Australia. So it was a reasonable choice to make to include it in the 4 vaccine strains originally ordered.

    I will happily turn up for my second dose in six weeks time. We have had three electronic surveys sent to us since our first dose to describe any reactions to that vaccine.

  18. #1818
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    I dread to think what will happen when you get (as you are bound to) your first case of myocarditis after Pfizer/Moderna.
    (Which, like clotting after AstraZeneca, is more common after Covid than after the vaccine.)

    Grant Hutchison

  19. #1819
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    The public, mainly driven by the news organisations, push-back against the AstraZeneca vaccine has become so strong that it will pretty much be withdrawn from use by October when larger amounts of mRNA vaccine will become available. There have been numerous letters to the paper from the over 60's complaining about being forced to use a "lesser vaccine". Some of these are saying that the writer will not accept the 'second dose'. The government is now being criticised for ordering it but when that decision was made the, very rare, clotting problems had not come to light. It was cheaper, effective, and required much less stringent storage requirements plus it was able to be manufactured in Australia. So it was a reasonable choice to make to include it in the 4 vaccine strains originally ordered.

    I will happily turn up for my second dose in six weeks time. We have had three electronic surveys sent to us since our first dose to describe any reactions to that vaccine.
    Yes it is a shame IMO, I wonder if people would be so fussy if they paid the actual cost, including the infrastructure component. Whether it proves to be a lesser vaccine when all the effects are compiled in a few years time, we shall see. Rare serious reactions to vaccines do happen, as do quite troubling “side effects” more commonly.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  20. #1820
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    So I see. They look very much like pregnancy tests!
    If that's true, I've been using them wrong. Will it affect the result?
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  21. #1821
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I dread to think what will happen when you get (as you are bound to) your first case of myocarditis after Pfizer/Moderna.
    (Which, like clotting after AstraZeneca, is more common after Covid than after the vaccine.)

    Grant Hutchison
    Yes, on another site I frequent a couple of doctors who are members have regularly pointed out that the, again slight, risk of myocarditis after vaccination by Pfizer/Moderna is consistently ignored in the various sensational articles about the side effects of the Astra/Zeneca vaccination. The governments and medical authorities as a whole are trying to keep the risks in perspective but 'shock horror' headlines sells papers and airtime.

    profloater - The trouble seems to be that as people have been mostly 'sheltered' here from the worst effects of the pandemic they have become more risk adverse. The slow rollout of vaccinations leaves open the chance of a major outbreak. We have only recently reached 25% of the population being given at least their first dose. When there are outbreaks, small in world terms, like one which is currently happening in Sydney then the lines for vaccination jump. But we still do not have sufficient vaccine supply to vaccinate the under 30's except for those in specific occupations. It had been envisaged that the Astra/Zeneca vaccine would be the major workhorse for at least the first year of the rollout but that is now a dead hope.
    Last edited by ozduck; 2021-Jun-25 at 04:10 AM.

  22. #1822
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    profloater - The trouble seems to be that as people have been mostly 'sheltered' here from the worst effects of the pandemic they have become more risk adverse.
    When you say "risk adverse" I assume you mean "adverse regarding the risks of vaccination specifically" rather than "risk adverse in general." And certainly that makes sense. If nobody around you has ever gotten sick with COVID, then you really wonder whether it's worthwhile getting a vaccine that has some risk. I'm sure that many people there hope that vaccination in other places will lead to the demise of the disease and then they will be able to go back to traveling and what not without having to get vaccinated.
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  23. #1823
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    Yes, on another site I frequent a couple of doctors who are members have regularly pointed out that the, again slight, risk of myocarditis after vaccination by Pfizer/Moderna is consistently ignored in the various sensational articles about the side effects of the Astra/Zeneca vaccination. The governments and medical authorities as a whole are trying to keep the risks in perspective but 'shock horror' headlines sells papers and airtime.

    profloater - The trouble seems to be that as people have been mostly 'sheltered' here from the worst effects of the pandemic they have become more risk adverse. The slow rollout of vaccinations leaves open the chance of a major outbreak. We have only recently reached 25% of the population being given at least their first dose. When there are outbreaks, small in world terms, like one which is currently happening in Sydney then the lines for vaccination jump. But we still do not have sufficient vaccine supply to vaccinate the under 30's except for those in specific occupations. It had been envisaged that the Astra/Zeneca vaccine would be the major workhorse for at least the first year of the rollout but that is now a dead hope.
    We live in media driven times. Earlier vaccines were accepted enthusiastically because people trusted doctors and feared the diseases. There was always a balance of risks with the side effects being on the whole much less than the illness, but some individuals suffered while the majority were prevented from harm and the pathogen was beaten, sometimes. We were ignorant and trusting, but the result was OK.

    Humans are very bad at dealing with rare but serious risks. Having rare events thrown in our faces unbalances us from a general view that bad things only happen to other people. They must be somehow guilty. Similarly lotteries thrive on emphasising a rare winner, encouraging “that could be me!” A rare but large benefit.

    We see views swing; if you know someone who becomes ill, you start to take it personally and will be more likely to accept a small risk. If you know someone get very ill, you grasp at solutions. Therefore we can predict that a new wave caused by a variant, currently the Delta variant, will change attitudes. Secondly when commercial operators insist on proof of vaccination, attitudes will change.

    Anecdotally I know several people gaming the news in that way. Typically they say “I am not scared by the virus, so I am reluctant to get the jab, but if my travel is restricted, of course I will get jabbed because I am not afraid of that either.” The “good for society in general “ argument does not seem to register, it is a selfish survival strategy.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  24. #1824
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    When you say "risk adverse" I assume you mean "adverse regarding the risks of vaccination specifically" rather than "risk adverse in general." And certainly that makes sense. If nobody around you has ever gotten sick with COVID, then you really wonder whether it's worthwhile getting a vaccine that has some risk. I'm sure that many people there hope that vaccination in other places will lead to the demise of the disease and then they will be able to go back to traveling and what not without having to get vaccinated.
    Sorry, you are quite correct - risk adverse in regards to vaccination. Once vaccinations for all are fully available here - probably in the last quarter of this year - then carrots will be needed to be handed out for those vaccinated. Such as the increased prospect of travel, exemption from state border closures, ability to self isolate at home rather than in quarantine places when coming from overseas etc. etc.

  25. #1825
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    Just a side note: risk "averse"
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  26. #1826
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Just a side note: risk "averse"
    Oops, of course it is.

  27. #1827
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I dread to think what will happen when you get (as you are bound to) your first case of myocarditis after Pfizer/Moderna.
    A friend recently posted an analysis that suggested that the approval in children will be delayed by the extremely rare myocarditis incidences, and I really, really hope not.
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  28. #1828
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    I do so hate to be pedantic (OK, not true), but there are several different phenomena being described here as “risk averse”.

    The usual definition of risk aversion is dislike of deviation from the average outcome. If you can take one course of action that guarantees you an outcome that you rate as a score of “10” (with high numbers being good), and another course of action that produces an outcome of “12” with probability 0.6 and an outcome of “9” with probability 0.4, then what should you do? The average outcome is 10 in the first case, and 10.8 in the second. On average, the second strategy is better. However, it does not necessarily follow that you prefer the second course of action. It is better on average, but it is also risky. If the pan of being down at “9” instead of “10” is really bad, and the joy of being at “12” instead of “10” is only slightly good, then you might forgo the possibility of getting an outcome of “12” in order to avoid the possibility of an outcome of “9”, even though on average, you are better off taking the second course of action. That us the total definition of risk aversion.

    It sounds like people are also discussing a completely different phenomenon, in which people have mistaken ideas about the probabilities of different outcomes. Well it’s possible that maybe people incorrectly assess the probability of getting COVID, or the probability of getting a severe case, or the probability of getting side effects from the vaccine. Now that may be, but it is completely different than the usual definition of risk aversion. A risk averse person is someone who dislikes risk (the possibility of deviation from the “average” outcome), not someone who misestimates the probabilities of different outcomes.
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  29. #1829
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    I do so hate to be pedantic (OK, not true), but there are several different phenomena being described here as “risk averse”.

    The usual definition of risk aversion is dislike of deviation from the average outcome. If you can take one course of action that guarantees you an outcome that you rate as a score of “10” (with high numbers being good), and another course of action that produces an outcome of “12” with probability 0.6 and an outcome of “9” with probability 0.4, then what should you do? The average outcome is 10 in the first case, and 10.8 in the second. On average, the second strategy is better. However, it does not necessarily follow that you prefer the second course of action. It is better on average, but it is also risky. If the pan of being down at “9” instead of “10” is really bad, and the joy of being at “12” instead of “10” is only slightly good, then you might forgo the possibility of getting an outcome of “12” in order to avoid the possibility of an outcome of “9”, even though on average, you are better off taking the second course of action. That us the total definition of risk aversion.

    It sounds like people are also discussing a completely different phenomenon, in which people have mistaken ideas about the probabilities of different outcomes. Well it’s possible that maybe people incorrectly assess the probability of getting COVID, or the probability of getting a severe case, or the probability of getting side effects from the vaccine. Now that may be, but it is completely different than the usual definition of risk aversion. A risk averse person is someone who dislikes risk (the possibility of deviation from the “average” outcome), not someone who misestimates the probabilities of different outcomes.
    Interesting and thought provoking. I find banks are happy to say they are risk averse, so they won’t lend money to someone who needs it, and I encountered a venture fund boss who retired saying he never made a mistake and always said no. These vaccine wobblies are risk averse in both senses and they may be wildly overestimating the actual risk, while disregarding the risk of not getting vaccinated for them personally and for their society. The point being we all misjudge risks to the point of denial to avoid being chronically anxious.

    So it is clear that the risk of a blood clot after a vaccination is much less than when infected, and about the level expected out of the blue when neither infected not vaccinated. Here the perceived risk is amplified by repetition and scary headlines. There is also a tendency to avoid risk in action tacitly accepting the risk of inaction, because a bad outcome directly linked to action is seen as a personal fault. If only I had not taken that action, I would not now be suffering.

    All in all I agree that bad assessment is different from being risk averse like a banker, but that “normal” risk aversion is just as ill informed. The perceived risk is always wrong because the actual is fifty:fifty, either it happens or it doesn’t. Unless it’s death or taxes.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  30. #1830
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    If you can take one course of action that guarantees you an outcome that you rate as a score of “10” (with high numbers being good), and another course of action that produces an outcome of “12” with probability 0.6 and an outcome of “9” with probability 0.4, then what should you do? The average outcome is 10 in the first case, and 10.8 in the second. On average, the second strategy is better. However, it does not necessarily follow that you prefer the second course of action. It is better on average, but it is also risky. If the pan of being down at “9” instead of “10” is really bad, and the joy of being at “12” instead of “10” is only slightly good, then you might forgo the possibility of getting an outcome of “12” in order to avoid the possibility of an outcome of “9”, even though on average, you are better off taking the second course of action.
    I don't understand why you'd rate the two possibilities as 9 and 12 if you think the first one is much worse than 10 and the second not much better.
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